Abu Bakr (r.a.)

The second greatest person of Islam after the Prophet is Hz. Abu Bakr (r.a.). He was an example of self-sacrifice and a symbol of loyalty. His life is full of examples of high ethics, virtues and humanity.  

Hz. Abu Bakr (r.a.) was a luminous person in those times of savagery when the sun of prophethood had not illuminated the world yet. He had never worshipped any idols that were lifeless and unconscious and that could not help or harm anybody or themselves. He did not practice the customs of Jahiliyya Era like drinking alcohol and gambling. He was a person that was loved and respected by everybody in Makkah. He was rich and estimable. He was a tradesman. He liked helping the poor.

Hz. Abu Bakr was a cultured and investigative person who went to various countries on business. He knew and felt that the period he lived in was undergoing a decline in terms of humanistic values.   

Hz. Abu Bakr was in a period of expectation. He was waiting for a savior who would save the humanity from savagery. In fact, there were some incidents heralding the light of guidance and indicating its approach that could be seen by careful and thoughtful people. Serious people like Hz. Abu Bakr and those who believed in the religion of oneness dating back to Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) were waiting and longing for this light.

One of those people was Quss b Saida. He was a poet and an orator. He believed in oneness of Allah and life after death. Once, he addressed a group of people including  Hz. Abu Bakr and the Prophet as follows:  

“I swear that there is a religion in the presence of Allah that is more beloved to Him than the religion that you follow. There is a prophet of Allah who is about to appear and his arrival is very soon. His shadow is right on top of your heads. How happy is the person who puts his faith in him! Shame on the unfortunate person who will oppose and rebel against him!“

The most sincere friend of Hz. Abu Bakr, who would attain this religion, informed by Quss b Saida, was Hz. Muhammad (pbuh). Hz. Abu Bakr felt at peace the most when he was with him; he preferred talking to him and relied on him the most. Whenever he left Makkah for a while for trade, the first person he would visit when he returned was Hz. Muhammad.

Once, Hz. Abu Bakr saw in his dream that the moon had descended to Mecca. It then split into segments and spread to the homes in the city. Afterwards, he saw the reassembling of the pieces and the entering of the moon into its own home. This dream made him very excited. He asked some scholars of the People of the Book living in Makkah about his dream. They told him that the prophet expected to come would emerge from Makkah soon, that he would be one of those who followed him and that he would be his deputy when he was alive.

Hz. Abu Bakr was a few years younger than the Prophet. His father's name was Uthman but he was known as “Abu Quhafa“. His mother's name was Umm al-Khayr, which means “the mother of all good deeds“. His wife's name was Zaynab and she was known as Umm Rumman. Abu Bakr had been married to Qutayla before her. After the death of Umm Rumman, he got married to Asma bint Umays.

Hz. Abu Bakr had six children, three girls and three boys: Their names were Aisha, Abdullah, Asma, Abdurrahman, Umm Kulthum and Mu­hammad.

* * *

Everybody was talking about the news that Hz. Muhammad was given the duty of prophethood. Even some Christians and Jews who read in their books that a new prophet would come were astounded. The polytheists said, “Is it possible for the prophthood to come to an orphan and helpless person? Would it not have been better if it had come to a notable person from our tribe?“ Thus, they opposed his prophethood.

Especially the polytheists could not stand it when the Prophet criticized and spoke ill of their idols.

Meanwhile, Hz. Abu Bakr was in Yemen on business. He was unaware of this event in Makkah. When he returned, the notables of Quraysh like Abu Jahl and Utba bin Muayt surrounded him because they knew that he was the closest friend of Hz. Muhammad. If it were not for Abu Bakr, they would use force in order to silence the Prophet.

Hz. Abu Bakr said, “What is the matter? Did anything happen while I was away?“

They said, “Yes, there is some very important news. Muhammad, the orphan of Abu Talib, claimed that he was a prophet.“

Abu Bakr said, “Did he tell that himself?“

They said, “Yes he did; and he always speaks ill of our idols.“

Abu Bakr said, “He said it himself. If he said so, he told the truth. Do you know where he is now?“

They said, “Yes, he is in his house now.“

Hazrat Abu Bakr immediately went to the home of the Prophet. He wanted to hear it from the Prophet himself. For, he knew that Hz. Muhammad had never told a lie. Therefore, people called him “Muhammad al-Amin“ (Muhammad the Trustworthy).      

Hz. Abu Bakr went to the presence of the Prophet in excitement. When the Prophet opened the door, he was smiling. For, he knew that the only person to believe him would be Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr asked,“ O Aba’l Qasim! Is it true that you claim to be a prophet?“

The Prophet said, “Yes. O Abu Bakr! I am a messenger who has been sent to you and all humanity by the Lord of the Realms. I invite humanity to believe in the one true God (Allah) and to give up worshipping idols.“

Upon this invitation, Hz. Abu Bakr did not hesitate even for a second. He said,

“I testify that Muhammad is a messenger of Allah, who is one.“ Thus, Hz. Abu Bakr attained the honor of being the first Muslim among men.

As Hazrat Aisha put it, no event in the world made our Prophet happier than Hazrat Abu Bakr, a reliable, respectable and notable person of his tribe, accepting Islam.

Our Master (PBUH) considered Abu Bakr’s not showing any sign of hesitation in the face of this invitation as a huge virtue by saying:

This incident alone is enough to express the honor and virtue of Hz. Abu Bakr. As a matter of fact, the Prophet stated the following later:

“Everyone whom I invited to Islam, with the exception of Abu Bakr, paused, hesitated, or was astonished. However, when I explained Islam to him, he neither paused nor hesitated.“ [1]

Hz. Abu Bakr opened his heart and mind, which were already ready, to Islam. He gave himself wholly to the grace and abundance of the divine truths that he had been seeking and expecting. He never stayed away from the Messenger of Allah and was looking forward to listening to the new divine revelations. As he filled his heart with the pre-eternal and post-eternal truths, he could not stand still; he wanted to declare it to the universe and desired the others to attain this divine grace and salvation.

When Abu Bakr accepted Islam, he had a wealth of 40,000 dirhams with him. He gave it to the Prophet to be spent for the cause of Islam. On the one hand, Hz. Abu Bakr was conveying the message of Islam to people with his ability of persuasion and proving; on the other hand, he was helping the poor Muslims. Most of the notables of Makkah attained the honor of becoming Muslims thanks to him.  

Some of those people are as follows:

Hz. Uthman (r.a.), Talha bin Ubaydullah (r.a.), Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (r.a.), Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah (r.a.), Zubayr bin Awwam (r.a.), Abdurrahman bin Awf (r.a.).

These people are six of the 10 people who were promised Paradise when they were alive. Besides, Uthman bin Maz’un (r.a.), Abu Sala­ma (r.a.), Arkam bin Abi Arkam (r.a.) also became Muslims thanks to him.

The cause of Islam started to eliminate the darkness in the horizon of Makkah gradually with the help and efforts of Hz. Abu Bakr. New people started to be fascinated by the divine light day by day. On the other hand, the polytheists were doing their best in order to dissuade those Muslims. As Islam spread, they increased their measures and started to use material force when they saw that trying to persuade them and mocking them failed to dissuade them. They started to beat the Muslims until they fainted and to torture them.   

With the efforts of Hz. Abu Bakr the number of the people that followed the lofty cause of the Prophet reached 38. The Muslims started to gather in the house of Arkam secretly in order to strengthen their belief and worship easily. 

Once, they gathered in this house, which was secure to enter and exit. Hz. Abu Bakr was also among them. They asked permission from the Messenger of Allah in order to declare the cause of oneness to the polytheists. First, the Messenger of Allah said their number was not enough but he gave permission due to the insistence of Hz. Abu Bakr. They went to the Kaaba altogether. Abu Bakr (r.a.) stood up and started to address the polytheists who were there:

“I praise Allah, who is one. Belief in Allah is endless happiness; denial and worshipping idols are a disaster. Give up this meaningless custom of Jahiliyyah and accept the call of the Messenger of Allah.“

The polytheists were surprised first. Then, they came to themselves and attacked the Muslims. They got Hz. Abu Bakr to the ground and started to hit him with the things they found. Utba bin Rabia, a ferocious polytheist, made his face blood by hitting him with his shoes with nails. The relatives of Abu Bakr hurried and managed to save him.

Hz. Abu Bakr fainted. He lay in an unconscious state until the evening. When he opened his eyes and looked around, he asked, “What happened to the Messenger of Allah?“ He asked about the Messenger of Allah even when he was half-unconscious. His mother asked, “Would you like to eat something?“ He answered in the same way: “Where is the Messenger of Allah? How is he?“ When his mother said she did not know about him, he said, “Mum! Go to Umm Jamil, the daughter of Khattab and ask him how the Messenger of Allah is.“ Despite the news from Umm Jamil that the Messenger of Allah was fine, his heart was restless. He wanted to see the Messenger of Allah himself. He vowed that he would not eat anything before seeing him. They said he could not go out like that. However, he definitely wanted to go and see the Messenger of Allah. He would not feel all right if he did not see the Messenger of Allah. When there were very few people around, they took his arm and took him to Arkam’s house. When he saw the Messenger of Allah, he said, “O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you!“ and started to cry. The Messenger of Allah hugged and kissed him. He also started to cry when he saw his state. [2]

Hz. Abu Bakr was “the most beloved person“ in the eye of the Prophet due to his submission, loyalty and self-sacrifice. The Prophet often visited him in his house and consulted him; he asked his ideas about spreading Islam and conveying the message of Islam. This friendship continued until the Messenger of Allah died. He did not leave the Prophet even for a moment.  It continued during wars and the Migration. He married his daughter Aisha off to the Messenger of Allah, strengthening this friendship.

Life started to be unbearable for the new Muslims in Makkah. The pressure of the polytheists increased day by day; their torture continued without stopping. A group of Muslims migrated to Abyssinia with the permission of the Prophet in order to save their religion and lives. When the divine permission was given, the remaining Muslims started to migrate to Madinah in convoys. However, Hz. Abu Bakr had not been given permission to migrate yet. When Hz. Abu Bakr, who was always with him asked the Messenger of Allah about his situation, he said, “O Abu Bakr! Do not hurry! Maybe Allah will give you a friend to migrate together with.“ Abu Bakr understood that he was going to be together with the Messenger of Allah in the Migration, too. There were only Hz. Ali, Hz. Abu Bakr and the Prophet left in Makkah as Muslims.

The polytheists were disturbed by the migration of the Muslims. They did not want to allow the Messenger of Allah to migrate. They gathered immediately. They decided to kill the Messenger of Allah.

However, Allah Almighty informed the Prophet about the situation through Jibril. He appointed Hz. Abu Bakr as the person to accompany him.

The Prophet went Hz. Abu Bakr’s house immediately. They met at the door. Hz. Abu Bakr was excited. He said,

“O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! What is the matter?“ The Messenger of Allah said that Allah allowed him to migrate to Madinah and that he would go with him. Abu Bakr wept for joy because of attaining the honor of migrating with the Messenger of Allah.

The Prophet asked Hz. Ali to sleep in his bed and he set off with Hz. Abu Bakr secretly. They started to walk toward the mount of Thawr. Hz. Abu Bakr was excited. He was worried that the Prophet would be harmed. The polytheists might have noticed them and been following them. Hz. Abu Bakr forgot about himself; he was thinking about the Messenger of Allah only. He sometimes walked in front of him and sometimes behind him. He sometimes walked on the right and sometimes on the left of the Prophet in order to protect him from possible attacks.  

They arrived at the Cave of Thawr late at night. The cave was desolate. It was full of insects. First, Hazrat Abu Bakr entered the cave. He checked the cave and blocked the holes in the cave with pieces of fabric he tore off his garment. When the pieces were not enough, he blocked the last hole by putting his foot on it. Then, the Prophet entered the cave and sat next to him. The Messenger of Allah put his head on the knees of Abu Bakr and fell asleep.

After a while, Hazrat Abu Bakr felt a great pain in his foot that he had put on the hole. He felt terrible. However, he did not move so as not to wake the Messenger of Allah up. He was in so much pain that tears fell down her face. When a few tears hit the face of the Messenger of Allah, he woke up and asked,

“What is the matter, O Abu Bakr?“

Hazrat Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Something bit my foot.“

The Messenger of Allah, who was the cure for all troubles whether material or spiritual, rubbed the place that was bitten with his spit. The pain was eliminated immediately. The Prophet was moved by the self-sacrifice of Hz. Abu Bakr and prayed Allah as follows:

“O Allah! Make Abu Bakr be together with me on the Day of Judgment.“

When the polytheists could not find the Messenger of Allah in his house, they got furious and did not know what to do. They promised great rewards to those who would find and bring the Messenger of Allah. Toward the morning, trackers set off in order to find the Prophet and take him to Makkah. As a matter of fact, they found his trace. They even came to the entrance to the cave. Hz. Abu Bakr got excited when he heard the footstep the polytheists. The Messenger of Allah kept calm. He said to Abu Bakr:

“O Abu Bakr! Do not worry! Allah is with us. If Allah is the third person near two people, nobody can do anything to them.“

Thereupon, Abu Bakr calmed down. As a matter of fact, while the polytheists were talking, they saw a spider web and a pigeon at the entrance of the cave; so they left without entering the cave.  

The Quran elevated the fame of Hz. Abu Bakr forever while mentioning this incidence in verse 40 of the chapter of at-Tawba. The following is stated in that verse:  

“If ye help not (your Leader) (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him; when the unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion: they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion “Have no Fear, for Allah is with us“: then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.“

The Messenger of Allah stayed in the cave for three days with Hz. Abu Bakr, who was a symbol of loyalty and self-sacrifice until he felt secure from the danger of the enemy. During these three days, Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr brought them food and his son, Abdullah, informed them about the news in Makkah. They came at night and left the cave before the sun rose.  

Three days later, they left the cave and set off for Madinah for “the Migration“, which started a new era in the history of Islam. After a dangerous journey, they arrived in Madinah. The Muslims who had migrated beforehand and the people of Madinah filled the streets to welcome these unique guests joyfully. [3]

Hz. Abu Bakr continued being close to the Messenger of Allah after migrating to Madinah, too. Nothing else could be expected from a person who devoted all of his property to Islam.

Loyalty means to act like the person one loves and follows, to devote all of his being to him and to virtually disappear in him. That is the secret that elevates Hz. Abu Bakr to an unreachable degree. The quality that enabled him to be called “Sıddiq“ (truthful, loyal) was his unique loyalty and adherence to the Messenger of Allah. He believed in everything that the Messenger of Allah said no matter how unbelievable it was.  

This quality of Abu Bakr was proved when he believed in the Messenger of Allah as soon as he heard his prophethood and when he affirmed the miracle of Ascension (Miraj).

One night, the Messenger of Allah went to Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) from Makkah with Jibril and then to the high realms with the permission of Allah; he returned the same night. The next day, he informed the polytheists about this unique miracle but they did not believe in him. Furthermore, some new Muslims found it hard to believe in it. Those Muslims went to Hz. Abu Bakr immediately. They said,

 “Are you aware of the news regarding your friend? He says that last night he went to Masjid al-Aqsa, prayed there, talked to the previous prophets, ascended to the sky and returned.“

Hazrat Abu Bakr wanted to be sure of something. He asked,

“Did you hear this from him?“

They replied, “Yes, we directly heard it from him.“

Hazrat Abu Bakr responded without hesitation:

“If he said so, it is definitely true. I believe in Him and everything he brings from Allah.“  

Afterwards, he got up and went straight to the Prophet (PBUH) to listen to the Ascension from him. When the Messenger of Allah told him about this great miracle, Hz. Abu Bakr said,

 “I swear by Allah that you tell the truth. For, you are the Messenger of Allah. I testify this again.“

Upon this, the Prophet complimented him by saying,

“O Abu Bakr, you are Siddiq (the Truthful) in any case.“ From that day forward, Hazrat Abu Bakr was referred to as “Siddiq.“ [4]

* * *

During the illness of the Messenger of Allah, the Companions visited him frequently. During one of these visits when Abu Bakr was present, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Allah Almighty left His slave free to prefer the world or the hereafter. The slave preferred the hereafter.“

Nobody understood what that statement mean. Only Hz. Abu Bakr understood that he indicated his death. He started to cry and said, 

“O Messenger of Allah! May our fathers, mothers, children, property and lives be sacrificed for you!“

The Prophet was moved by this foresight and sensitivity of Hz. Abu Bakr and said,

“O Abu Bakr! Do not cry! If I had a friend except Allah, I would have Abu Bakr. Islamic brotherhood and love are superior to personal friendship. Then, he said, “Close all the doors opened for people except the door of Abu Bakr in the mosque.“ [5]

A few days after this talk, the Prophet (pbuh) became too ill to lead the prayer. He said,

“Tell Hz. Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.“

Thereupon, Hz. Abu Bakr led prayers 17 times. Once, he led the morning prayer when the Prophet was among the congregation.

* * *

When the Messenger of Allah died, Abu Bakr (r.a.) was somewhere else. People had gathered and were crying.  When Abu Bakr (r.a.) heard the news and entered the room where the Messenger of Allah was. Then, he spoke as follows in surrender and reliance: 

“We are slaves of Allah and will return to Him. O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! You were beautiful when you were alive and you are beautiful when you are dead. Allah Almighty will not give you any other grief apart from the severity of death. You have already passed the test of death predestined for you.“

However, the munafiqs did not give up their acts of hypocrisy and troublemaking even during the death of the Messenger of Allah

They tried to undermine the spirituality of the Muslims by saying, “If Muhammad had been a prophet, he would not have died.“

Hz. Umar could not put up with their talk anymore; he drew his sword and shouted:  

“The Messenger of Allah did not die. I will kill anyone who says so with my sword.“

Meanwhile, Hz. Abu Bakr arrived and made the following speech due to the statement Hz. Umar made in sorrow:

“Allah told His Messenger that he would die when he was alive. Yes, the Messenger of Allah died. Only Allah is eternal.“ Then, he read verse 144 of the chapter of Aal-i Imran:

“Muhammad is no more than an Messenger: many were the Messengers that passed away before Him. If he died or was slain, will ye then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve him) with gratitude.“

He continued as follows:

“Allah’s religion will live.  Allah’s cause has been completed. Allah will help those who follow His religion and try to elevate it. We have the book of Allah with us. It is luminous light and cure. It includes the things that Allah rendered halal and haram.“ [6]

Hz. Abu Bakr was chosen the Caliph of the Messenger of Allah unanimously after the talks of the notables of the Companions. For, everybody knew that he was the right hand of the Prophet and appreciated him. One day after Abu Bakr (r.a.) was chosen as the caliph, he made the following historical speech on the pulpit of the mosque:

“O people. I was entrusted as your ruler, although I am not better than any of you. However, we were taught the Quran and the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. If we have any knowledge, it originates from them. The caliphate is no easy duty. I had to undertake this heavy burden that I have no strength for. I wish a stronger person had been chosen. I advise you to fear Allah.

 O people! Obey me and support me if I fulfill my duty properly.  Correct me when you see me going astray. Honesty is a trust; Lying is treason. The weak among you are powerful in my eyes until I get them their due. Obey me as I obey Allah and His Messenger. Do not obey me if I disobey Allah and His Messenger. I ask Allah to forgive me and you.“ [7]

After becoming the Caliph, Hz. Abu Bakr started to fulfill meticulously the duties incumbent on him and as a necessity of his loyalty to the Prophet. The first thing he did was to send the army of Usama to Damascus, which the Prophet planned to do but died before sending it. Some notables of the Companions asked Abu Bakr to postpone sending the army due to the problem of false prophets. He answered them as follows:

“I swear by Allah that I will fulfill the order of the Messenger of Allah even if I know that tigers and wolves will come to Madinah and pull me to pieces. For the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Send the army of Usama in any case.“

Hz. Umar found Usama too young and offered him to appoint an older commander. Abu Bakr said,

“O son of Khattab! How can I change Usama considering that the Messenger of Allah appointed him as the commander?“ [8]

The army of Usama set off upon the instruction of Abu Bakr. They did not encounter Byzantines. However, on the way back to Madinah, they defeated a group from Huzaa tribe. Thus, the order of the Messenger of Allah was fulfilled and a big trouble that occurred was eliminated. 

Hz. Abu Bakr became the head of the state and the vicegerent of the Messenger of Allah. His daughter Aisha, who was the wife of the Messenger of Allah, stated the following about the caliphate of her father:

“This duty was so hard that it would break mountains into pieces if it fell on them. However, Hz. Abu Bakr fulfilled this hard duty perfectly with the help of Allah and the support of the believers. He consulted the Companions he regarded necessary to talk to related to the issues about which there was no clear evidence in the Quran.“

* * *

Hz. Abu Bakr was a very good administrator. He appointed people with knowledge and ability as administrators. For instance, he appointed Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah, whom the Prophet called “the trustworthy person of the ummah“ as an administrator for financial issues. He appointed Hz. Umar, who was a symbol of justice, as the person in charge of legal issues and Zayd bin Thabit, one of the scribes of revelation, as the person in charge of registration and correspondence.  

Hz. Abu Bakr walked around the streets at night in order to check the state of the people he was in charge of and helped the poor and helpless people. Salih al-Ghifari narrates the following reminiscence about the issue:  

“Hz. Umar undertook the duty of caring an old blind woman. He took food and drinks to the woman himself. Once, he saw that somebody else had taken care of the woman before him. The next day, he took food and drinks to the woman earlier, hid in a place and started to wait. He saw Abu Bakr, the leader of the believers, coming. He stood up and said,  

“Oh! It was you, the leader of the believers!“ [9]

Hz. Abu Bakr gave written and oral advice to governors and army commanders. Once he gave Ikrima the following advice:

“Do what you have said you will do. When you make a promise, keep it. Do not be afraid of warning people but be careful about what to say. Do not punish a criminal more than he deserves. Do not delay the punishment of a person who deserves it.“

After he was chosen as the Caliph, he did not want to get a salary from the Treasury. He wanted to make his living through trade.

Once, he was going to the market for trade after he was chosen as the Caliph. He met Hz. Umar on the way. Hz. Umar offered him to put him on a salary from the Treasury.  Hz. Abu Bakr, “I fear that I will not deserve that money.“However, Hz. Umar said his time would be enough only for the affairs of the state and that he would not have enough time for trade. He persuaded Abu Bakr to get a salary enough for his livelihood from the Treasury.  Hz. Abu Bakr got salaries from the Treasury for two years for his caliphate of two years. However, when he died he wrote in his will that this money should be returned to the Treasury from his inheritance. [10]

* * *

The services done during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr are as follows in brief:

Before the death of the Prophet (pbuh), some false prophets emerged in Yamama, Yemen and other places. They wanted to dominate their tribes. They took action in order to benefit from the death of the Messenger of Allah. Hz. Abu Bakr sent armies under the command of Khlid bin Walid (r.a.), Ikrima bin Abi Jahl (r.a.), Muhajir bin Abi Umayya (r.a.) and Amr bin As (r.a.) to suppress them. Thus, these troubles were eliminated.  

When the Messenger of Allah died, some Arab tribes exited from the religion of Islam. Jews, Christians and munafiqs took action. As Hz. Aish (r.a.) put it, Muslims became like a herd of sheep that scattered due to rain on a winter night. As Abu Hurayra put it, “If it were not for Abu Bakr (r.a.), Muslims would be destroyed after the death of the Messenger of Allah.“ However, with the help of Allah Almighty, Hz. Abu Bakr saved Muslims from these dangerous situations thanks to the skills and abilities Allah Almighty granted him.

Another important service of Hz. Abu Bakr was bringing all of the verses of the Quran together and compiling them in one binding. When a verse was revealed both in the period of Makkah and Madinah, the Prophet summoned one of the revelation scribes and dictated the verse immediately. Thus, the verses that were revealed at various times and places were written on pieces of paper, tanned leather, white, flat stones, scapulas of camels and palm leaves. The Prophet made the revelation scribe read the verse that he wrote in order to check it; if there was anything extra, he would remove it; if there was anything missing, he would add it. Thus, the Quran was written correctly and completely when the Prophet was alive. However, the written copies were not stored in a certain place. The Companions who wanted the copies took them home. The need to bring all of the verses together did not arise because the Prophet was alive and there were a lot of hafizes (the people who memorized the whole Quran). However, when a lot of hafizes were martyred during the Battle of Yamama, this need arose.

The first person to see this need (bringing all of the written verses of the Quran together) was Hz. Umar’. After the Battle of Yamama, he became worried that the number of hafizes would decrease and the copies of the verses would be lost. He talked to Hz. Abu Bakr about it. He offered to bring together all of the copies of the verses of the Quran, which were in different places. At first, Hz. Abu Bakr hesitated because the Prophet had not done so when he was alive. However, he accepted it due to the importance of the issue. They negotiated and decided to bring together all of the copies of the verses of the Quran.

The duty of collecting and compiling the verses of the Quran was given to Zayd bin Thabit, one of the scribes of revelation. Hz. Zayd was in his 20's then. However, he was one of the Companions that had memorized the whole Quran and that could read it very well. 

As soon as Hz. Zayd undertook this holy duty, he took action. He made an announcement and asked those who had verses written on anything to bring to him with two witnesses testifying that they had been written in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. All of the Companions did their best to fulfill this duty. They brought the verses to Hz. Zayd with two witnesses testifying that they had been written in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. Hz. Zayd arranged those verses in the form of chapters.   

In about a year, all of the written verses of the Quran which had been in different places were brought together and compiled. Abu Bakr (r.a.) ordered Hz. Zayd to establish a committee consisting of the scholars of the Companions. The compiled verses of the Quran were read in their presence. All of them agreed that they were correct and in order.  

Hz. Abu Bakr kept the compiled Quran with him until he died. After his death, it was entrusted to Hz. Umar then to Hz. Umar’s daughter, Hz. Hafsa, who was also one of the wives of the Prophet. [11]

Hz. Abu Bakr prepared armies in order to make the needy hearts to meet Islam. He sent an army under the command of Khalid bin Walid to Iraq. This army gained victories after one another and conquered an important part of Iraq. He planted the flag of oneness there.  

After the conquest of Iraq, Hz. Abu Bakr sent Hz. Khalid bin Walid to Damascus. However, he died before receiving the news of the conquest of Damascus. When Abu Bakr died, it was the 13th year of the Migration. May Allah be pleased with him!

* * *

Hz. Abu Bakr was a person of taqwa. He always avoided haram and doubtful things.  

Once, his servant brought him some food. Hz. Abu Bakr was very hungry; so he ate it without asking the servant where he brought it from. Then, he asked the servant about the food.  

He said, “During the Era of Jahiliyya, I wrote a ruqya (talisman) for a woman and she promised me to pay for it later. That was what I brought you.“ Abu Bakr got very angry. He put his fingers down his throat vomited the morsel out. Those near him said, “You put yourself through a great deal of trouble for one morsel.“ he said,

‘If I had to die trying to get this morsel out I would do so; for, I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘He whose body is nourished by Haram is bound to burn in hellfire.'“ [12]

* * *

Hz. Abu Bakr was a superior person in terms of worshipping. Once, the Companions were around the Prophet (pbuh). He asked the Companions a question:  

“Who amongst you is observing fast today?“

Abu Bakr said, “I am. O Messenger of Allah!“

The Prophet asked again, “Who amongst you has joined a funeral today?

Abu Bakr said, “I have. O Messenger of Allah!“

The Prophet asked again, “Who amongst you has served food to the needy today?

Abu Bakr said, “I have. O Messenger of Allah!“

The Prophet asked again, “Who amongst you has visited a sick person today?

Abu Bakr said, “I have.“ The Messenger of Allah smiled and said,

 “A person who has these qualities enters Paradise.“ [13]

Hz. Abu Bakr read the Quran beautifully. He read the Quran so movingly that both he himself and listeners cried when he read it. In the first years of Islam, the women, children and slaves of the polytheists gathered around him to listen to the Quran. However, the polytheists prevented them from listening lest they should be Muslims.  

He was the most knowledgeable one among the Companions in terms of understanding the Quran and knowing the Sunnah. For, he was together with the Messenger of Allah throughout his life; he aimed to learn Islam and the Quran from the Prophet with all of his feelings and abilities. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah gave him the authority to issue fatwas even when he was alive. Hz. Abu Bakr knew the best what verse was sent down when and upon what incident.

Once Hz. Abu Bakr saw that some Companions misunderstood the following verse: “O ye who believe! Guard your own souls: if ye follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray…“ (al-Maida, 105) He intervened and said,  

“You misunderstand this verse. I heard the Messenger of Allah say the following after reading this verse: ‘If people overlook the oppression of an oppressor and do not prevent him, all of them will be punished.’“ [14]

Hz. Abu Bakr was a very rich person. He was also very generous. He was so generous that he sometimes spent all his wealth in the way of Allah. Hz. Umar narrates the following reminiscence regarding the issue:

“Once, the Messenger of Allah ordered us to donate for the cause of Islam. I was well off then. I thought, 'I can be superior to Abu Bakr this time.' I brought half of my wealth to the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah said,

‘What did you leave to your family?’ Umar said,

‘As much as I have brought here.’

After a while, Abu Bakr brought his wealth. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked him,  

‘O Abu Bakr! What did you leave to your family?’ Hz. Abu Bakr said,

‘I left the love of Allah and His Messenger to them.’

Thereupon, I said, ‘I can never be superior to Abu Bakr in charity.'“ [15]

The Prophet (pbuh) praised his generosity and self-sacrifice several times. Once, he said, “The most generous person among people in my eye is Abu Bakr in terms of his property and friendship.“

He also said, “There is nobody we have not been able to pay in return for their charity except Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr is so generous that his reward can only be given by Allah on the Day of Judgment.“ [16]

There are several hadiths of the Prophet about Hz. Abu Bakr expressing his appreciation and praise. Some of them are as follows:

“The most virtuous person apart from prophets is Abu Bakr.“ [17]

Ibn Umar (r.a.) narrates:

“Once, the Prophet (pbuh) left his house and entered the mosque. Hz. Abu Bakr was on his right and Hz. Umar was on his left. He held the hands of both of them and said,

“We will be resurrected like this on the Day of Judgment.“ [18]

The following is stated in another hadith:

“If anyone gives sadaqah for the sake of Allah, he will be invited to enter Paradise with these words: 'O beloved servant of Allah. Come here. There is great goodness and abundance at this door.' Those who perform prayers a lot will be invited to enter by the gate of prayer; those who take part in jihad will be invited to enter by the gate of Jihad; those who give charity a lot will be invited to enter by the gate of charity; and those who observe fast will be invited to enter by the gate ar-Rayyan.“

Hz. Abu Bakr was there. He asked,

“May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! O Messenger of Allah! Can a person be invited by all doors?“ The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Yes, it is possible. I hope you will be one of them.“ [19]

Hz. Abu Bakr reported 142 hadiths from the Prophet. The reason why he did not report more hadiths is the fact that he lived only two years after the death of the Prophet. Besides, his engagement in state affairs prevented him from reporting more hadiths.   

One of the hadiths he reported is as follows:

“I advise you to be honest. Stick to honesty. For, honesty and goodness are together and both of them are in Paradise. Beware of telling lies. For, lying is together with evil; and both of them are in Hell. Ask forgiveness and health from Allah. Nothing better than forgiveness and health except belief has been given to anybody. Do not be jealous of one another. Do not nurture enmity toward one another. O slaves of Allah! Be brothers.“[20]

[1] al-Bidaya, 3: 30; Sirah, 1: 269.
[2] Insanu’l-Uyun, 1: 475; al-Bidaya,3: 30.
[3] al-Bidaya wa’n-Nihaya, 3: 177-180; Tabaqat, 3: 172; Usdu’l-Ghaba, 3: 209-210; Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahaba, 1; Sirah, 2: 128.
[4] Sirah, 2: 39; Insanu’l-Uyun, 2: 92; Tabaqat, 1: 213-216.
[5] Bukhari, Fadailu’l-Ashab: 3; Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahaba: 2-3; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 15; Usdu’l-Ghaba, 3: 216; Sire, 4: 299; Insanu’l-Uyun, 3: 458.
[6] Bukhari, Janaiz: 123; Ibn Majah, Janaiz: 65, Tabaqat, 2: 265-267; Sirah, 4: 305; Insanu’l-Uyun, 3: 474.
[7] Tabaqat, 3: 182-183; Sirah, 4: 311; Insanu’l-Uyun, 3: 483; Hayatu’s-Sahaba, 3: 317.
[8] al-Bidaya, 6: 305; al-Kamil fi’t-Tarikh Translation, 2: 307; Hayatu’s-Sahaba, 1: 314-318.
[9] Hayatu’s-Sahaba, 2: 42.
[10] Hayatu’s-Sahaba, 2: 148.
[11] Bukhari, Fadailu’l -Qur’an: 2.
[12] Hilya, 1: 31
[13] Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahaba: 12.
[14] Tirmidhi, Zuhd: 60; Musnad, 1: 2.
[15] Usdu’l-Ghaba, 3: 218; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 16; Hilya, 1: 32.
[16] Usdu’l-Ghaba, 3: 218; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 16; Hilya, 1: 32.
[17] Faydul-Qadir, 1: 90.
[18] Ibn Majah, Mukaddime: 11; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 16.
[19] Muslim, Zakat: 86; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 16.
[20] Musnad, 1: 3, 5.

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